We Kid You Not: GOAT Tops Inflection Point, Quiet Quitting, and Gaslighting As Greatest of All Time Words and Terms That Lake Superior State University Banishes for 2023
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Stop resorting to imprecise, trite, and meaningless words and terms of seeming convenience! You’re taking the lazy way out and only confusing matters by over-relying on inexact, stale, and inane communication!
Language monitors across the country and around the world decried the decrepitude and futility of basic methods to impart information in their mock-serious entries for Lake Superior State University’s annual tongue-in-cheek Banished Words List. LSSU announces the results of the yearly compendium on Dec. 31 to start the New Year on the right foot, er, tongue.
The vast majority of the 1,500-plus nominations of words and terms for banishment for misuse, overuse, and uselessness for 2023 reveled and wallowed in the erosion of fundamental expression.
Ranked No. 1 as the best of the worst: GOAT, acronym for Greatest of All Time. The many nominators didn’t have to be physicists or grammarians to determine the literal impossibility and technical vagueness of this wannabe superlative. Yet it’s bestowed on everyone from Olympic gold medalists to Jeopardy! champions, as one muckraker playfully deplored. Meanwhile, other naysayers remarked on social media posts that brandish a photo of, for instance, multiple cricket players or soccer stars with a caption about several GOATs in one frame.
“Words and terms matter. Or at least they should. Especially those that stem from the casual or causal. That’s what nominators near and far noticed, and our contest judges from the LSSU School of Arts and Letters agreed,” said Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at Lake State.
“They veritably bleated their disapproval about the attempted nonpareil of GOAT because the supposed designation becomes an actual misnomer. The singularity of ‘greatest of all time’ cannot happen, no way, no how. And instead of being selectively administered, it’s readily conferred. Remember Groucho Marx’s line about not wanting to join a club that would accept him as member?
“The nine additional words and terms banished for 2023 – from new no-nos ‘inflection point’ at No. 2 and ‘gaslighting’ at No. 4 to repeat offenders ‘amazing’ at No. 6 and ‘It is what it is’ at No. 10 – also fall somewhere on the spectrum between specious and tired. They’re empty as balderdash or diluted through oversaturation. Be careful – be more careful – with buzzwords and jargon.”
LSSU has compiled an annual Banished Words List since 1976, and later copyrighted the concept, to uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical – and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating.
Over the decades, Lake State has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which now totals more than 1,000 entries. Examples of the winners (or should that be losers?) to make the yearly compilation: “detente,” “surely,” “classic,” “bromance,” and “COVID-19,” plus “wrap my head around,” “user friendly,” “at this point in time,” “not so much,” and “viable alternative.” The Banished Words List has become such a cultural phenomenon that comedian George Carlin submitted an entry that made the annals in 1994: “baddaboom, baddabing.”
This year, nominations came from most major U.S. cities and many U.S. states, plus Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Portugal, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, India, China, Namibia, South Africa, Nigeria, American Samoa, Malaysia, the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout Canada.
Here are the list of the banished words and terms for 2023 and the reasons for their banishment:
“Our linguists, editors, and philosophers, comics, gatekeepers, and pundits didn’t succumb to quiet quitting when laboring over rife miscommunication. Rather, they turned in discerning opinions about rampant verbal and written blunders with equal parts amusement, despair, and outrage. But our nominators insisted, and our Arts and Letters faculty judges concurred, that to decree the Banished Words List 2023 as the GOAT is tantamount to gaslighting. Does that make sense?” said LSSU President
Dr. Rodney S. Hanley. “Irregardless, moving forward, it is what it is: an absolutely amazing inflection point of purposeless and ineptitude that overtakes so many mouths and fingers.”
For more about the Banished Words List and to nominate a word or term for banishment for 2024, go online to lssu.edu/banishedwords.
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